Saturday, April 25, 2009


I don't normally post pieces from the web, but after Hillary's tough rhetoric, this comes as a welcome admission. Something Pakistanis have desperately been trying to tell America, since forever. They sowed the Taliban. They invested in their training and development. The Taliban are America's love-child from the Soviet War. So Uncle Sam better stop messing with us. We've weathered threats and sanctions in the past, and we can continue doing that.

I bet Bill had a class with the Mrs. after her "patriotic" speech yesterday! ;-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Fast and The Furious...

...leave one dead; two, critically injured. At 4:00 am in the morning, a four-wheeler - allegedly driven by an MNA's son, drunk and wasted (who immediately fled the scene) - rammed into the car of a Luminite. The collision left the boy in his junior year at undergrad school, dead.

This happened immediately behind my father's house, on the main road, here in Defence, Lahore. He instantly called Rescue 1122, who refused to respond, stating that they needed confirmation that somebody actually was injured! My father insisted that there was a very bad collision, the noise from which, woke them up from deep sleep; he could see smoke gushing out from the vehicles and the electricity pillar damaged. But Rescue 1122 refused. He then called the DHA Police.

Boys and girls from big families are above the law, it seems. Out with a license to kill. But our youth is now waking up to its civic rights and duties. Will the one who fled, be caught? Will the 2 boys in jail, be released with the force of contacts behind them? Will Rescue 1122 be admonished? Will drinking ever end, in this 'land of the pure'? Let's wait and see.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Fussy Freelancer

I have never had a full-time job. Yes, I have had opportunities to take a few up, but I’ve been too choosy about the jobs that have come my way. My father thinks I should only concentrate on writing (it is the one interest, that has stood the test of time) - to not try and make money out of it, but simply for the beauty of it. My husband thinks I can’t take up a job ever, because my interests are intense at first, but then, fleeting. “Aren’t you a bit fussy with your job hunt?”, he’d ask me. I’ve now given up job-hunting. Its not for me! 

I know friends who can’t breathe properly if they don’t get a daily dose of some social-networking at work; I also know friends who are stay-at-home moms, and wouldn’t have it any other way. I yearn for both ends of the bargain. My being, therefore, exactly and aptly defines the being of a freelancer. Our times have already been revolutionized because of the internet, which continues to weave intricate webs. Could I have asked for more? I call freelancing, the best of both worlds. I get to stay at home and I get to work. An exotic combination!

Freelancing, if one manages to continue attracting projects, almost always cuts away monotony. There is a wide variety of projects so you don’t feel like an ass, much less, a self-induced slave. There is, obviously, a lot of sympathy for those who don’t have any choice but to give in to the grit of capitalism. Granted: most of us don’t have a choice.

Of course, all is not happy and gay for freelancers either. I’ve had quite a few experiences to say that most employers - when they are not binded by a permanent contract - tear your skin apart before they pay you. And paying right, is another story!

I once had a verbal agreement with a weekly paper in Pakistan to pay me a fixed amount for every piece I published with them; in turn, it was required of me to make at least one submission every week. I held my end of the bargain, and got so excited about the opportunity that I almost wrote a full-length research paper for them, divided into four topics, to be published in parts, in the course of a whole month. At the end of the month, however, I was paid for one article alone. I argued that every part held its own, and I should be paid accordingly. They argued (regardless of the fact that this article was about 6000 words in length) that it was one article after all! Fair? I don’t think so!

Among the few companies/organizations that I am working with these days as a freelancer, is an outsourcing company. They’re paying me less than what was initially committed by their representative, over a phonecall; they keep pressurizing me about the submission of projects before the deadlines strike; I compromised on the pay, and I always submit well in time. But when it is my turn to expect a payment, they pay, but they take their time - the time in which I keep inquiring, to the extent that I’ve now earned myself a repute. I recently declined a project they sent my way: the text of the email read, “Let me know if you’re interested.” I told them I wasn’t. And here’s part of the reply I got: “Aapka nakhra zyada nahin hai?” (Translation: Aren’t you a bit too fussy?)

Copyright (c) 2009 Saadia Malik

Monday, April 13, 2009

The New M(e)ntra

Women are often blamed of being insecure; from their insecurities, it is alleged, they give way to cynicism. The weaklings from Venus are at absolute unease with their husbands' female co-workers; should the 'man of the house' come home late from work, they are looked at with meaningful glances. Do you think this is more cliched than it is real? I, for one, do.

Having been in conversation with some married girlfriends of mine, it has become alarmingly obvious that it is the men these days, who are insecure. As women discover their right to indulge in economic work, to not be shy or guilty about frequenting their own family; away from the stoves, finding independence in a stroll away from the 'need' to seek permission to go out with friends, or to simply have a life of hers (previously, there only being 'theirs' and 'his'), it is the men who now put on scrawny thinking caps, coming up with unflattering innuendos towards their other halves.

I think the male species is having a hard time letting the 'fairer sex' stand with it, shoulder to shoulder. The wife's confidence is instantaneously rewarded the status of feminism, in attempts to keep her playing on the back foot. And don't ever try saying, "This is the 21st century, man!" No wonder everybody's on the lookout for metrosexuals: men just don't cut it anymore...